Inquiry - 100-year Closure Order
The Crown Office today lied there
was no truth in media speculation that reports about the behaviour
of Thomas Hamilton, considered as part of the Dunblane Inquiry, were
being kept out of the public domain due to concerns that they allegedly
contained references to senior political figures in Scotland. LINK
A Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service spokesperson
"All reports were made available to the Inquiry,
and to all parties directly involved in the Inquiry. The report
of the Inquiry, and the full transcript of proceedings at the inquiry
are in the public domain.
"As is normal practice, unpublished documents which
were available to the inquiry were lodged with the Scottish Record
Office (now the National Archives of Scotland). Material of
this kind is routinely subject to a 75-year [Ed
~ extra-statutory, illegal] closure, in accordance with normal
Scottish practice LINK,
which follows administratively the principles of the statutory scheme
that applies in England and Wales. LINK
"In this case, in consultation with the Scottish
Office and Crown Office, Lord Cullen agreed [Ed
~ "demanded" LINK]
that extending the closure period to 100 years would be appropriate.
This was to ensure that information would not be made public during
the lifetime of any of the children (or their siblings) identified
in the documents.
"There is no question of this action being taken
to protect the identities or involvement of any public figures - the
decision was made simply to protect the identities of the children
involved, and to avoid causing them distress throughout their lives.
[Ed ~ Liar! Look at my
embargoed letters LINK
and my petition LINK
to the Scottish Parliament - and at the "gagged" files that
were released to the public, in a redacted form, on Monday, 3 October
"In response to recent media speculation, the Crown
Office has reviewed the reports in question and can confirm that one,
in relation to firearms, makes no reference to any high profile figures;
while the other, in relation to a boys camp LINK,
makes passing reference to the fact that, as a result of the police
enquiry, Hamilton had written to a number of individuals, including
his local MP (Michael Forsyth LINK),
the Chief Constable, and the Procurator Fiscal.
"The new Freedom of Information legislation is not
relevant in this context. The Freedom of Information (Scotland)
Act is not yet in force. However, the Act provides for extended
closure periods of up to 100 years for sensitive, personal information."
"Files subject to closure are held by the National
Archives of Scotland (formerly Scottish Record Office). However,
the departmental custodians of the file, or report - in this case
the Crown Office - would consider any requests for special access.
"Where an individual has a bona fide cause to have
access to papers which are closed and identify children, it is possible
to remove identifying references to individuals, and assign identities
such as 'child x'. However this is a complex process, requiring
cross reference of information relating to addresses and relatives,
etc., and would only be undertaken where an individual can show good
cause for having access to closed papers.
As far back as February 2003, the Scottish Executive
ORDERED the Lord Advocate Colin Boyd to release many of the gagged
files. He still refused to do so until ordered again by the Scottish
Executive to do so. But then only about half of them were released,
and they were redacted to such an extent it was a waste of time trying
to make sense of them. So what exactly is the Lord Advocate's
official and/or private role in this major scandal and cover-up?"